UK

Sex with landlord 'was survival'

Homeless person asking for change Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Sex with the landlord was the only alternative to being on the streets for Jason

Jason was 27 years old when he was made redundant and could no longer afford his rent. He told the BBC he was embarrassed that his life was collapsing around him.

"I had to enter a 'sex-for-rent' arrangement after I was on the streets for two months," he said.

"I never thought I'd end up homeless and desperate. I had a reasonable job as a manager at a private car hire company, but when the business was taken over, I wasn't needed any more.

"I found an advert [online] that offered a room for rent between zero and £300 per month. That was the first clue.

"I was too proud to approach friends for help and have not had a good relationship with my family since I came out as gay.

"I tried to get help from the local council but I was told I wasn't a vulnerable case, even though I was on anti-depressants and had a letter from my GP that I was seeking counselling.

"I felt I had no alternative but to respond to the advert.

"It was obvious when I went to see the landlord that there was going to be a deal involved. I was told, this is the rent, and we'll share a bed. It started off as an arrangement where I would have sex with him two to three times a week.

"It wasn't pleasant. It was survival. I did what I had to do to survive.

"Soon he brought other men home to share me, or they would have sex while I slept on the floor. He started hosting sex and drugs parties. It all became a bit of a blur for about six months.

"I eventually left London and another council put me in touch with a charity called Alabare that really helped me to get back on my feet. They arranged for a place to stay from 21:00 until 08:00 the next day.

"I only spoke to one very close friend, eventually, who invited me stay with him in London until I found a place for myself. I feel very blessed to have him in my life.

Young homeless people staying with strangers

Centrepoint survey

25%

of young homeless people said they had stayed with a stranger

  • 14% of the rest said they had considered doing so

  • 403 people answered the question on the Centrepoint survey

Getty

"As for the people who run the adverts, for better or worse, they are providing a home. However it is taking advantage of vulnerable people. I can only imagine the mess it would make for someone much younger than I was.

"My confidence is coming back gradually. I've turned my life around now. I'm training to be a counsellor - which is both rewarding and therapeutic. I really want to help homeless people because I know how it feels.

"You literally have nothing apart from what you carry with you. You tend not to sleep in the evening because it's not safe - it's safer to sleep in the day. You don't have a fixed address so you don't get benefits. You pretty much get left to your own devices.

"Looking back, I wish I hadn't been so proud, and had asked friends for help when I was homeless."

Interview by Sherie Ryder, UGC and Social News team


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